LETTER to OGYAM

LENNOX ASSAN


2 Comments

LETTER TO OGYAM; …..LIEBSTER AWARD

liebster award

One person I always look up her blog is “pressure queen” Desaha, she terms that as stalking but you see let’s all ignore the semantic. Maybe that’s the name given to someone who breathes on your neck to write. She’s among the top bloggers I discovered this year and you can check her blog here. She’s a big girl. I visited her blog today and as it turned out, she’s nominated me for the LIEBSTER AWARD. Girl, much thanks to you for this nomination. I appreciate.

The purpose of the award is to uncover bloggers, “connect and support the blogging community”. It also helps in providing a bigger platform for your blog and other bloggers.

Rules of The Liebster Award:

  1. Create a new blog with the graphic of the ward thanking the person that nominated you, link to their blog.
  2. Create a set of questions for your nominees to answer.
  3. Nominate 10 bloggers and share your blog post with them so they can accept their awards.

Aim and Objectives Liebster Award:

“The Liebster Award is a blogger award for new bloggers and those with few or small followers. It’s an amazing way of giving new bloggers an opportunity to gain some recognition and encouragement for their hard works”.

DESAHA’S QUESTIONS AND MY RESPONSE

1. DO YOU GOOGLE YOURSELF TO SEE IF YOUR BLOG WOULD COME UP?

Sometimes. Especially when I haven’t written or posted anything in a long time.

2. WHAT MADE YOU START BLOGGING?

Was enthused by the works of two people; veteran journalist George Sydney Abugri, whom I started reading his columns in the Daily Graphic when I was in JSS, Letter to Jomo and Kofi Yankey, who introduced me to his works during our time at the University of Cape Coast.

 

3. HOW DO YOU MOTIVATE YOURSELF TO KEEP YOUR BLOG UP AND RUNNING?

I posted my first article in March 2014, and since then, I’ve thrown a challenge to myself to write every month. The motivation comes in when I’m nearing the end of a month and there’s no article written. At that moment, I realize I’m on the verge of committing a “crime” or “sin”, perhaps it has been done already, thus cleansing needs to be done.

4. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY THAT IS THE GREATEST SATISFACTION OF BEING A BLOGGER?

When people other than yourself keep reminding you to write and post something when you haven’t done that in a while. It brings a sense of urgency within and an appreciative feeling that one’s work is being welcomed.

5. HOW DO YOU DECIDE ON WHAT BLOG TO FOLLOW?

I give priority to blogs whose theme and subject matter meet my interests; Satire, Fiction, Tech, Entrepreneurship, etc.

 

I AM HEREBY NOMINATING THE FOLLOWING BLOGGERS TO FOLLOW UP WITH THEIRS;

JOSEPHINE AMOAKO – JOSEYPHINA’S WORLD

KWAKU GYAMFI – WRITINGS OF THE BEAUTIFUL ONE

ABOKI CLEDRE – TALES FROM MADINA

SELASI KOMLA ADJOR – SELA’S LINES AND STANZAS

LIGRI NABA – PLAIN TALK FOR PLAIN PEOPLE

INSPIRED GRISELE

 

BELOW ARE THE QUESTIONS I HAVE FOR MY NOMINEES;

  1. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN BLOGGING?
  2. HAVE YOU FACED ANY DIFFICULTIES IN YOUR BLOGGING LIFE?
  3. HOW OFTEN DO YOU POST ARTICLES ON YOUR BLOG?
  4. HAVE YOU BEEN IMPACTED POSITIVELY BY ANY BLOG/BLOGGER?
  5. WHICH DO YOU ENJOY DOING MOST – READING OR BLOGGING?

 

10 RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME

  1. I always end my articles with the Spanish phrase HASTA LA VISTA (See You Later)
  2. I pick the titles of my articles from the last sentence in that article.
  3. My all time favorite movie is TROY. Directed by Wolfgang Petersen.
  4. Although I’m a Christian, I believe the whole concept of hellfire is misconstrued and overrated.
  5. I had my basic education in the Western Region, secondary education in the Ashanti Region and tertiary education in the Central Region.
  6. Of the 10 regions in Ghana, I’ve been to 7. Hoping to complete all 10 soon.
  7. I don’t have a favorite food.
  8. I have read 5 of Shakespeare’s works but completed only 1 – Julius Caesar
  9. I prefer African authors to foreign authors. More priority to Nigerian authors
  10. I’ve seen all I’ve written but haven’t written all I have seen

Thanks for the Liebster Award

HASTA LA VISTA

 

Advertisements


6 Comments

LETTER TO OGYAM; …..GROWING UP IS A SIN


My stomach seems to be widening at a geometric rate Ogyam. Silly though, peeps in this town think it’s a sign of affluence – charley your money dey come o, see your bɛllɛ sef – such a gibe. Meanwhile they’ve forgotten to tell us to watch our health, it’s always about money with them, no be so? About two decades ago, I wouldn’t have cared much about the size of my belly. Perhaps such apprehensions are all part of the growing up process.

Growing up can be tense and stressful. Aside the anxieties and trepidations of your health, you also have bills to pay, invitations to honour – weddings, funerals, graduations. Once you’ve grown up, you and your friends don’t even get time to talk about your neighbours’ wives anymore – who cooks bad, whose dressing is top notch and whose wig is older. The tables have turned, our neighbours’ wives now talk about us – they ask when we are going to leave our parents’ home, they discuss why we aren’t married yet, and they debate who is more beautiful, the girl you brought home yesterday or the one you just escorted from your house this evening. And they pretend not to see us when we bypass them in the neighbourhood but wouldn’t spare us a second to ask about our parent’s health and send regards when they see us thousands of kilometres away in the company of a member of the opposite sex.

There were those days your interest in daily national matters and current affairs were for academic purposes. You knew all the ministers of state and their deputies, all heads of government agencies, all the names and capitals of the districts in Ghana. But suddenly, you’ve grown up, and since you are a pupil teacher, all you care about is who the president names as the minister for education and minister for finance.

Although you may have money and lots of it, you’ll realise that the most essential currency needed most is time – once spent, it can never be regained. And so you put in all effort to make good use of every second of it, time with family, time with friends, time with co-workers and most importantly, time with yourself.

And then there is love. Once grown up, you realise love goes more than a tender feeling of affection for somebody. It is a very expansive field which involves guarantees, pledges, dedications and devotion. Love means being there for that person when things go wrong. It involves adjusting and making concessions. You realise the love when you finally get to a point of comprehending that life is about helping each other and not just about you. But sometimes love itself becomes strange, for as you keep growing, you learn to let some things or people go, just to prove how much you love them. In the words of Dela “we are radiant. You the moon, I the sun. but should we dare embrace, it’d be darkness. Not the binding brilliance we wished for”.

At a particular stage in the growing up process, you become aware of the social construct in which you are born into and you spend the early stages of your life defending what it represents – name, ethnicity, religion and so you ask yourself, “does the meaning of my name reflect the life I live”? “Am I part of this religious organisation because of my parents”? “Does my religious organisation give me answers to the questions I seek about some of the elements of life or I’m only following blindly”. “Does the career path I’ve chosen suit me, or it’s just to make ends meet”? “How far do I have to go in terms of my education”?

As you grow up, you strive for maturity to be at a parallel, for growing up doesn’t necessitate maturity, just as white teeth isn’t a guarantee against bad breathe. But in maturity, you come to the apprehension of how some of the most important words in life have been sapped with little energy and drive in them due to misuse, abuse and exaggeration – friends (who really are they), love (what does it mean), success (what does it entail), loyalty (will it be given without seeking anything in return). Nonetheless, we know that of all the billions of humans on earth, just a handful are poets who are assigned with dignifying the veracity of words and shielding it with an outright accuracy of emotions. Therefore, for most of us, we create strife among ourselves while we see each other as friends, we hate while we claim to love, we fail while we seem to be succeeding and we betray each other while we claim to be loyal.

On a lighter side, you come to a full consciousness that typing “amen” and sharing that “message” isn’t going to give you a mansion or a car overnight. Neither will you die should you refuse to forward it to twenty people on your contact list.

You also realise, upon growing up, that daddy never finishes all the meat served in his soup, it is always returned, well most of it. 

It is when you are grown up and gone broke do you realise it isn’t compulsory, in fact, it’s not even necessary to eat three times in a day. And to whichever dietician or nutritionist who brought up the biggest scam in the history of mankind – breakfast, lunch and supper, including the deluded idea of brunch – shame on you.

Adulthood washed away all the innocence in us, we can’t even bath together with our neighbours’ daughters again Ogyam, anaa meboa? 

The whole concept of growing up is overrated Ogyam. What happened to the yesteryears of doing things blithe. Don’t grow up I warn you, growing up isn’t a crime, but I tell you, growing up is a sin.

                                  HASTA LA VISTA


Leave a comment

LETTER TO OGYAM; …..LET THE MUSIC PLAY ON

​It’s almost 11pm Ogyam, I’ve been sitting in this 22-seater Benz bus bound for Tarkwa, we’re just five people in the vehicle, four females and I, waiting for it to hit its fullest capacity or perhaps half of it then we set off. It’s been almost 20 minutes since I entered the vehicle as the last person and there is no sign the vehicle will be full anytime soon. Usually, vehicles plying the Tarkwa – Takoradi route don’t take much time to become full but it seems there’s something not so right today. To add to my frustration, a peddler, whom at first glance one can tell is a sexagenarian has just come to stand at the door of the vehicle. Guess what he’s selling Ogyam – penis enlargement drugs, remedies for premature ejaculation, sexual impotence, you know, and other associated stuffs. Goodness, at this hour? What I don’t understand is why, as he rants about the potency of his drugs, his eyes are directed at me and me alone whiles we are five people in here, as if he knows something about me of which I myself might be oblivious. Like many people, I’m not a fan of peddlers at the numerous lorry stations and so I’m compelling myself to put it forth before him of his noise making antics. But then, the imp in me says I should shut up, since the other fraction of the human race who are with me in the vehicle might see it as an admission of my guilt and divulgence to the infirmities he claims to possess its remedies. Here, the proverbial old woman who feels uneasy when dry bones are mentioned in a proverb comes to mind. And so, I mute and endure his rackets.
What comes to my rescue however, is the driver, as he switches on his tape to play some music. He treats us to some good old soul and country music from the eighties and nineties. At that moment onwards, the music keeps playing on, from James Brown’s hits, through to Aretha Franklin, Lionel Richie, Don Williams makes a brief appearance on the playlist too and straight away, my vexation towards the peddler has sunk to a nadir. Music heals. I always wonder Ogyam, which is the food for the soul, a good music or a good book?

Sometimes, I think one’s fondness for a kind of music is determined by the circumstance under which he/she is exposed to that music. When growing up as a kid, one thing my father used to do was to turn up the volume of his stereo whiles lashing me for some wrong doing. By so doing, the neighbours wouldn’t hear my screams for help and old boy always had his way with it. The first time I heard Yvonne Chaka Chaka’s celebrated song – Umqombothi – I had been locked up in the slaughter house, that’s the name I gave to the visitors’ room where whipping went on, and receiving countless lashes for riding bicycle in town during class hours. Old Mama Yvonne’s voice was blaring out loud from the speakers and my call for help was soaked in her melodious voice which was at its crescendo. The lyrics stuck like glue, “I work hard every day to make my beer. Wake up early every morning to please my people with African beer”, trust me Ogyam, what I was receiving at that moment was far from an African beer. And since then until a time thereon, I always held some reservations about that song Umqombothi.

I always thought Captain Planet’s OBI AGYE OBI GIRL made no sense until one of these galamsey boys in Prestea gave me a lift in his newly acquired Lexus SUV. To call it a car will be an attack on the vehicle’s reputation. From the moment I sat in, with seatbelt strapped on and the air condition fully functioning, the song started playing and at that instant everything about it seemed accurate and spot-on – the lyrics, the tempo, the sound engineer’s choice of musical instruments, etc etc were all on point, even Captain Planet’s rap or whatever he was trying to do made sense. I instantly pegged him alongside rap greats like Obrafour, Sarkodie, Kwaw Kese and Okyeame Kwame. May the rap gods forgive me. You may find yourself in one of these rickety taxis plying the Huni Valley – Wassa Damang route and on that rough road, amid dust from the road, fog from the weather condition and smoke from the wayside palm oil makers’ hut, not forgetting the bumpy nature of the road, the London symphony orchestra’s version of Vangelis’ Chariots of Fire might be playing in the car but in your condition, that celebrated tune might appear to be coming from the camp of Vic O. (no disrespect to Vic O, I’m a huge fan).

There are times music can get you into trouble. There’s this boy I know whose stepmother used to castigate him due to his refusal to eat the dinners she served. One evening, a similar thing happened and this woman rebuked his stepson the morning thereafter. About an hour later, one could hear the boy playing Samuel Owusu’s KƆKƆSAKYI in his room. The hook of the song goes as Kɔkɔsakyi, medeɛ memma efie aduane nnyɛ me dɛ efisɛ etuo muo sum na agya bɔfoɔ deɛ ne ho ohu paa. (The partridge says he wouldn’t be enthused or carried away by meal prepared at home because the inside of a gun is dark and the hunter is deceitful). Here, the “inside of a gun is dark” can loosely be interpreted as “one can hardly tell the machinations of a fellow man”. Need I tell you what happened to the stepson when stepmother heard him playing this song? Nah, you don’t need to be told. There’s also a disc jockey who mistakenly played Lucky Dube’s IT’S NOT EASY at his friend’s wedding. Maybe he knew something the groom didn’t. Huh, did I hear you say tooli?

I’m out Ogyam, the night is catching up fast. Lock the door, switch off the lights, hit the sack but let the music play on.
                                       HASTA LA VISTA


1 Comment

LETTER TO OGYAM;….. THESE CURSES WILL FOREVER BE UPON YOU


I’m not the type of person who harbours resentment towards others Ogyam. Nah, I don’t. However, there are some acts when committed against me won’t go unnoticed. Twelve years ago, this guy borrowed my drawing board and tee square as well as maths set to write his Pre-Technical Skills paper, perhaps he’s still writing that paper. Two weeks ago, he was in my house and we even ate together. You see Ogyam, I could have poisoned him at that moment for “stealing” what is mine. Somehow, I’d wanted to ask him, “Koo, where is my drawing board and maths set you borrowed during your Pre-Tech mock exams in JSS?”. At that moment, the teeth in his mouth would have vanished, and he would have swallowed the morsel of food without chewing. The food would have painfully travelled in his oesophagus and landed in his stomach with a thud. I was imagining him choking on his own blood few seconds later, swallowing his own tongue and his eyes forcing their way out of their sockets as I stare him with some evil grin. But then, that isn’t who I am, Lennox Kwame Assan, magnanimity is my middle name (if its placement becomes confusing, feel free to take out the Kwame). I always forgive and forget, granted, twelve years is such a short time to forget though, hopefully it will be water under the bridge in five years time. You may come for my Infinix™ charger and decide not to return it, I’m cool. You may come for my ladle and decide not to return it, I’m cool. You may come for my socks or singlet and decide not to return it, I’m so damn cool. You may even come for my wife and deci. But not my books Ogyam, no. There is this so-called friend of mine who’s decided not to return a book he borrowed. Not that I’m out of books to read but then when you promise to return a book after a month and there is no sign of it after six months then tell me why I shouldn’t call Poseidon upon him. You know what’s even worse, he had the reckless offensive confidence to post excerpts of the book on Facebook and tagged me – Opana is reading WHY NATIONS FAIL with Lennox Assan and 83 others. Abufusɛm. So Opana, since you are always in possession of things that do not belong to you, you might come across Ogyam’s letter, and in the unlikely event this letter gets to you, know that every sentence after the next full stop is meant for you until you return my book.

1. May you always step in a wet spot once you put on some new socks

2. May you have your laptop charge overnight without you noticing the chord/charger isn’t plugged into the wall. May the same happen to your phone

3. May all your movie downloads reach 97% and fail thereon

4. May you have a flat tyre whiles you’re about to leave home for work in the morning

5. May your computer never meet the specifications needed to play FIFA18 or Pro-Evolution Soccer 18

6. May you always get up from your computer with your headphones still inserted into the computer and attached to your ears

7. May your chair produce a sound similar to a fart but only once, such that you cannot repeat it to prove to all that it was just a sound from the chair

8. May every “empty” parking space you see from a distance actually contain a motorcycle or bicycle

9. May all your Facebook notifications be game invites and friend requests from “mallams”

10. May both sides of your pillow be moderately hot

11. May you go to your favourite barbershop for a haircut and when it’s your turn, may your barber hand you over to his apprentice

12. May your mother come to talk to you in your room and whiles she is leaving, may she leave it ajar so that you will have to get up to close it. But if you prefer it to be left ajar, may she close it with a loud bang

13. May every sock you wear be slightly rotated, just to make it uncomfortable for you

14. May your headphones snag on every door handle

15. May you mistake the lotto kiosk to be the mobile money vendor just because both joints are a few feet apart. And just when you realise the mistake, may your crush see you from a moving vehicle thinking you are staking lottery

16. May you make a call, and whiles it’s on loudspeaker, may all present hear the lady say “you have no call credit in your MTN account. You can dial star-five-zero-six-hash……”

17. May you bite your tongue whenever you chew a gum

18. May your phone slip from your hand and hit your nose as you lie and browse on your bed

19. May the seller forget to add shito to your waakye, may you only realise it when you get home

20. May callers of a radio programme mistake your number to be that of the radio station and be calling you on Sunday afternoons to request songs as you try sleeping

21. May your battery terminal fail you in traffic so that all drivers will honk at you, including those with L number plates

22. Once you set your alarm clock, may you forget to switch it on as you go to sleep

23. May you wake up an hour prior to the set time on your alarm clock. And when you decide to take a 30 minutes nap, may you end up in 3 hours of deep sleep

24. May you hit your smallest toe against the leg of a table as you walk barefooted inside your house

25. May you fumble with the differences between push and pull, loose and lose, invisible and invincible, vertical and horizontal, bosschick and sidechick, and so on and so forth

26. May your TV remote never function whenever you’re tired and lie in couch to watch TV. So that you’ll always have to get up and walk to the TV whenever you want to change the channel or minimise/maximise volume

27. May your Hausa kooko be too hot when you buy it and too cold by the time you remember it’s there

28. May you always feel your cell phone vibrating in the pocket it’s not even in

29. May she take longer than forever to reply your messages but when you send “Goodnight” may she reply “Gn” in 2 seconds

30. May all her replies to you be ‘’K’’ and ‘’Lol’’ as you try hard to initiate a conversation with her on WhatsApp

This isn’t the life I want for you, but should you refuse to return my book, until this year is over, these curses will forever be upon you.
                                               HASTA LA VISTA


Leave a comment

LETTER TO OGYAM;….. MUCH I WRITE ABOUT NOTHING

Lately I’ve been suffering from what seems to be every writer’s nightmare – the writer’s block. The block can hit hard Ogyam, and I guess this time I was hit the hardest, even to the point where putting pen on paper became bilious. The block was moulded with fragments of uncertainties, fatigue, procrastination, laziness and loss of interest. Writing can be a huge burden at times, but in the words of Cheryl Strayed “writing is hard for every last one of us… Coal mining is harder. Do you think miners stand around all day talking about how hard it is to mine for coal? They do not. They simply dig”. Oh boy, I cried for inspiration. Nonetheless a writer who waits for inspiration before he writes is less of a writer. Anaa meboa?

But I heard all the rumours pertaining my long absence. Some claimed I was out of topics to write about, that’s a lie, there’s always something to write. There were also those saying I’d fallen in love, that a certain damsel had taken away my time and attention. See, these are the people who’ll always cause an opportunity to pass by. So, what if a daughter of Eve – an admirer – heard such rumour and decided to end her pursuit of me? Witches and wizards spreading these lies, your time is nigh. The haters were also about in town, telling all that my absence from writing was because I’ve become too broke to such a point I can’t even afford a postage stamp to post my letters to you. Some even claimed you Ogyam, had been swept off by the cold winds of death, hence I had no one to send my letters to. Well here we are.

It was when I sat behind the table with a pen in hand and you in mind did I realise how much I’ve missed writing to you. Today’s letter has no theme, should we always write about something? Let’s just while away with me writing naught and you reading zilch, there’s no better way to waste your time than to read a long letter that makes no sense. 

I wanted to write on trivial matters today. Like how the roadside preacher uses sinister ways to take money from passers-by. You know I have some obsession with these guys. But this preacher is extraordinary. He used to preach in the local parlance until he bought a new set of sound system. Nowadays, he preaches in English but when he’s up to take money or what they term “offering”, he switches to twi. His sentence pattern and gramma deɛ ɛyɛ asɛm oo…. ah well, perhaps that’s what happens when he’s in the spirit or maybe the spirit’s in him. And we’ve been told not to make fun or speak against the holy spirit, no be so? Not just that, he’s making headways with his locally acquired foreign accent (LAFA), perhaps I should start watching these entertainment pundits on TV to catch up with him. Consider what happened two days ago as I was passing by him, it’s one thing what the pastor thought he said and it’s another thing hearing and knowing what he really said. When I think of Jesus, I think about my salvation. That’s what he thought he said. When I think of Jesus, I think about masturbation. Now that’s what I heard him say. 

Ah forget about ɔsɔfo, I could have told you about Maame Yaa Agyarko, she sells cassava at the Tarkwa main market on Mondays to Fridays then move to Bogoso market on Saturdays. She’s 56 and proud. Her adeptness of telling a fufu cassava from an ampesi cassava is celebrated. Not just that, she sells with pride. Her style of selling, her implicit use of figurative expressions and vivid comparisons to describe her foodstuffs is what brings her all those customers. “Ah Kwame, this isn’t an expensive cassava. Take a look, see, it’s from the hilly plains of Awudua Nkwanta. See how white the inside looks, this is a beautiful cassava, once boiled and pounded, your fufu will look very appealing and delicious”. She says. I understand Maame Yaa very well Ogyam, but to describe the edible root of a tropical plant as beautiful is quite an overstatement, and you know, the problem here is I’m not going to decorate my room with the cassava, I only want to eat fufu.

Initially I was planning on writing about my expectations for Medeama FC and Manchester United ahead of the new football season, however, fans propose then coaches and management board dispose. Then I thought about a piece relating to migration or terrorism or cybercrime, maybe international politics, but the conservatives and liberals of the 21st century take things too seriously. So, I decided to switch to local issues, here too you’ll have to be cautious and thoughtful for folks in this town will dress you with a political flag. 

That’s how confused I am now Ogyam. But I take heart for I know I’m not the only confused bloke roaming about in town. Somewhere inside a banking hall, a self-opinionated urban youth is struggling with the “push” and “pull” signage on the door. A mechanic’s apprentice at Suame Magazine for months since his orientation is still sweating on the difference between two key ingenious devices which aids in simple tasks, and he keeps asking himself “which is the bolt and which is the knot”. And a final year geography student can’t even for once get it straight as to where lies east and which is west, and of what direction does the sun rises and to what course does it set. Mind you, either the sun or us, are even more confused for as we are told today that the sun is static, we were informed the day before that this static star we call the sun rises from the east and sets at the west. In the midst of these bewilderments, some of us do find an avenue to escape from the real world – and that is to write. Writing isn’t only an act but it’s also an art, the pressure to write brings out a pleasure in creating a beautiful piece, a thought-provoking work and an artistic result of an unending sea of ideas and notions, or in some cases just as in this epistle, it allows you to spew nonfa, which you might find it shy and difficult to do orally. So what are you waiting for buddy. Get up and pick a pen, send me that long-awaited reply, put something down, write your heart out. Write until all your fingers bleed, then switch to your toes, if that also wears out, put the pen in your mouth and keep writing, the world won’t be running out of ink anytime soon. It might appear clear and understandable to just a few but who cares, the most important thing is visualising your thoughts on a piece of paper. And that is what I’ve done today old chap. I’ve written something, well, much I write about nothing.


                                     HASTA LA VISTA